Bhubaneswar: India’s leading independent child rights organization, ‘Save The Children’ working in 17 states to make a difference in the lives of the most socially-excluded children of India today organized a first of its kind “Mini Walkathon” here to mark the culmination of ongoing New Born Care Week (November 15 – 21) observation. Over hundred students from various Journalism Institutes, Ramadevi University, Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) etc participated in this one of its kind “Mini Walkathon” carrying banners, placards and flags, in order to spread awareness in society for improvement of healthcare of new born and child survival.

Eminent personalities from various walks of life joined the mini walkathon and encouraged the students in the initiative. Noted litterateur Dr. Gourahari Das, Dr. H K Mishra, Addl. Director Child Health, H&FW Dept. Govt. of Odisha, young political leader and MLA Chandbali Mr. Byomakesh Ray, journalist and popular TV news anchor Ms. Itishree Nayak, Odissi danseuse cum TV actress and social worker Ms. Prativa Sahu Panda graced the occasion and addressed the gathering of students. Dr. Soumyakanta Mishra, Programme Coordinator (Health), Save the Children anchored the programme.

The New Born Care Week “Mini Walkathon” from Stewart School road and culminated at Sambad School of Media and Culture campus. Eminent speakers and dignitaries deliberated on various aspects of new born care including common precautions to avoid infections to the child, special care for underweight babies and importance of mother feeding for survival of new born kids.

The theme of “New born week “2015 is “Quality Improvement by Data Keeping”. New Born Care Week is celebrated every year throughout the country from15 to 21 November. The aim is to generate awareness and suggest measures to improve health of new born and child survival. Infant mortality rate (IMR) is a major concern of the state Odisha. The rate of Infant Mortality has decreased. As per the “Sample Registration Survey” SRS 2011 = IMR is 53 per 1000 live births in Odisha against national rate of 42/1000 live birth, said Dr. Soumyakant Mishra addressing the gathering.

“State has made a lot of progress in terms of child survival, but still the Newborn death has remained a challenge against child mortality Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) is 39 in Odisha (SRS 2011). Since two third of all newborn deaths occur during the first week of life. It is very much important to address the Neonatal survival issues at all levels. To reduce the Infant mortality burden concentration need to be given in the neo-natal period, he added.

Speakers stressed to spread awareness which can play a greater role for developing better understanding on Newborn care. To reduce IMR we need to be watchful from infection, Lack of oxygen to foetus and new born baby, Hypothermia and Premature deliveries which are the main causes of death among the newborn kids. Hence exclusive Care to Mother during pregnancy and after Delivery is the best possible care for the new born, said the dignitaries in the culminating meeting.